Colony Christmas in Palmer, Alaska

When it comes to small-town holiday celebrations, it's hard to beat Colony Christmas, held the second week of December in downtown Palmer.

Palmer's downtown comes alive during Colony Christmas, with events taking place throughout the area. Those looking for one-of-a-kind gifts will be in luck, thanks to the numerous craft fairs that take place within walking distance of each other. Two of the largest bazaars are held in the Mat-Su Borough Gym and the Palmer Depot.

Also at the Mat-Su Borough Gym, kids wanting to meet Santa can get their wish - with the "only in Alaska" opportunity to also meet real-life reindeer and pet them at the Palmer Visitor Center.

The annual Parade of Lights is hugely popular and takes place on the Saturday evening of Colony Christmas. The parade winds its way down Alaska Street - grab a hot chocolate and bundle up! Following the parade, one of Alaska's top fireworks display takes over the sky.

Don't miss events like the gingerbread house contest or hay rides around downtown - there really is something for everyone at Colony Christmas.

The event is sponsored annually by the Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce  and a complete schedule can be found at their web site,